Their first, and to date only major trophy, the League Cup was won in 1972, when the team beat Chelsea 2–1. The club's highest league finish in the top division is fourth, which was achieved in the 1935–36 and 1946–47 seasons. Stoke played in the FA Cup Final in 2011, finishing runners-up to Manchester City and have reached three FA Cup semi-finals; in 1899 then consecutively in 1971 and 1972. Stoke have competed in European football on three occasions, firstly in 1972–73 then in 1974–75 and most recently in 2011–12. The club has won the Football League Trophy twice, in 1992 and in 2000.
Stoke's home ground is the 30,089 all-seater, bet365 Stadium. Before the stadium was opened in 1997, the club was based at the Victoria Ground, which had been their home ground since 1878. The club's nickname is 'The Potters', named after the pottery industry in Stoke-on-Trent and their traditional home kit is a red and white vertically striped shirt, white shorts and stockings. Stoke's traditional rivals are Midlands clubs West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers whilst their local rivals are Port Vale with whom they contest the Potteries derby.
Stoke City F.C. was formed in 1863 under the name Stoke Ramblers, when pupils of Charterhouse School formed a football club while they were apprentices at the North Staffordshire Railway works in Stoke-upon-Trent. The club's first documented match was in October 1868, against an EW May XV at the Victoria Cricket Club ground. Henry Almond, the club's founder, was also captain, and scored the club's first ever goal. During this period they played at the Victoria Cricket Ground; however, they switched to a nearby ground at Sweetings Field in 1875 to cope with rising attendances.
In 1878, the club merged with Stoke Victoria Cricket Club, and became Stoke Football Club. They moved from their previous ground, Sweetings Field, to the Athletic Club ground, which soon became known as the Victoria Ground. It was around this time that the club adopted their traditional red-and-white striped kit. In August 1885, the club turned professional.
Stoke were one of the twelve founding members of the Football League when it was introduced in 1888. The club struggled in their first two seasons, 1888–89 and 1889–90, finishing bottom on both occasions. In 1890 Stoke failed to be re-elected and joined the Football Alliance, which they won and thus were re-elected to the Football League. Stoke spent the next 15 seasons in the First Division and reached the FA Cup Semi-final in the 1898–99 season before being relegated in 1907. Stoke went bankrupt and entered non-league football until 1914, when the First World War meant the Football League was suspended for four years. During the wartime period, Stoke entered the Lancashire Primary and Secondary leagues. When football recommenced in August 1919, Stoke re-joined the league.